BUFFALO, Minn. — M. Tracy Gitchell, 94, lifelong resident of Huron, died peacefully July 2, 2019, at Parkview Care Center in Buffalo, Minn.
Tracy was born November 27, 1924, in Huron and was the fourth of four children of Elias Tracy Gitchell and Anna (Christiansen) Gitchell. He was the last survivor of the Gitchell children, Lyle, Lois, and Verna. Tracy went to grade school through high school in Huron. During that time, he developed a great interest in music. He started playing trumpet and was so skilled at the age of 15, he was asked to be a member of a dance band. The band played every weekend in dance venues throughout S.D. and neighboring states. He excelled academically and musically. While attending Huron High School he was awarded the Rubinoff music award.
After graduating from high school in 1942, Tracy attended Huron College from 1942-1948. During this time, he served in the Air Force as a weather observer. He also played dances and broadcasts from famous Paris palaces confiscated by the Red Cross. While attending Huron College, he played trumpet and sang with the well-known Don Shaw Orchestra.
Tracy attended school from 1948-49 at the University of Oregon, pursuing a law degree. He returned home upon the death of his father and attended University of South Dakota, where he earned his law degree. During this time, he met, fell in love with and married Lois Huntley. He said, “ Lois was the prettiest and best female trumpet player he’d ever known!” Tracy and Lois raised three daughters in Huron. Tracy was well known and respected. His business involvement was extensive.
After earning his law degree, he opened a practice in Huron. From 1951-1968 he managed the Star lite Drive-in Theater, 1951-1986 General Manager of the Hickory House Motor Inn, better known as The Inn, half interest in a fixed-base airplane distributorship, 1970-1976 owned Hertz franchise, 1968-1978 Law Magistrate and District County Judge, 1986-1989 radio announcer for KIJV, 1989-1991 real estate broker, and 1992-2011 Crossroads Hotel. Tracy had many responsibilities while employed there. He worked there until he was 86 years old.
Tracy is survived by three daughters, Andrea (Bill) Hennessey, Vanessa (Joe) Carlson, Denise Gitchell, and (Clive Stokes); four grandchildren, Callie Bowman (Matthew), Cole Hennessey (McKenzie), Adam Carlson, and Amy Carlson Rempel (Lee); two great-grandchildren, Charlie Diane, and Isaiah Lion.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois; his parents, Elias Tracy and Anna; two sisters, Lois Anhorn, and Verna Weston; and infant brother, Lyle.
Tracy, our dad, was one of the smartest, hardworking, talented, gracious, loving men we knew. He spent his life striving to provide the very best life for his family. “Now, Dad, we can only imagine how it is when His face is before you! “
A private family service will be held at a later date.